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School Health Care Workers Weigh In On Students Returning To Campus – COVID-19 Update For April 9

Kerry Klein

The end of the pandemic may finally be approaching: With 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the San Joaquin Valley, 15 percent of adults have now been fully vaccinated, and another 12 percent have received at least one dose. Meanwhile, all Valley counties have now advanced out of the purple, most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening blueprint, signifying what is hopefully the last stretch in the return to normalcy for California’s businesses and places of worship before Governor Gavin Newsom plans to fully reopen the state’s economy in mid-June.


A reopening economy also means local middle and high schools can finally open their doors, and students are already returning to campuses across the Valley after a tumultuous year. So what has a year of remote learning meant for those school employees charged with keeping students healthy, and what could a return to campus mean for students grappling with grief, trauma and learning loss?


This week’s COVID update shares the perspectives of school healthcare workers preparing to come face-to-face with students for the first time in a year, featuring Bullard High School nurse Priscilla Hansen and Kern High School District social workers Kim Reynolds and Rebecca Banke.


Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):


As of April 8:

As of 1 week previous, April 1:

  • 4,624 total deaths out of 324,352 total cases
  • 258 people hospitalized and 57 in ICUs
  • 148 deaths reported in the last week
  • 237 average cases reported daily in last week
  • 1,143,545 vaccine doses administered to date

As of 4 weeks previous, March 11:

You can always find up-to-date information for your countyhere.


Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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